24 Hopper's Biography

Gail Levin wrote the definitive biography of Hopper. I am indebted to her for what I know about Hopper's life. But I also saw an opportunity for a new look at Hopper. Her biography portrayed Edward as a controlling, violent man--so much so that the New York Times headline for the book review was titled "Mean Man with a Brush." Hopper's wife Jo was portrayed as decidedly dramatic, argumentative, and looking toward posterity. So why base a biography on her journals? She had every reason and inclination to paint herself as a hero and Edward as a monster. And would anyone want their spouse's view of them to be the legacy of their life?

Hopper, a frugal and slightly paranoid man, bought a ledger in which he kept track of every painting he was working on and how much it sold for when done. After their marriage, Jo started a similar ledger. Many critics have wondered why she needed her own.

I was not just on a mission for Miriam in Muskegon. But also for Edward.

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